VISION CORRECTION FOR SWIMMING
For many, prescription swimming goggles will be the safest form of vision correction. Many Olympic swimmers wear goggles even though they do not need any eyesight correction. A selection of the current models is shown to the left.
Contact lenses are a popular form of vision correction for swimmers. There is no problem with steaming up and tightly fitting goggles can be uncomfortable if worn for an extended period of time. However, contact lenses are not without their drawbacks and are now not generally recommended for swimming due to problems with chlorine, contaminants such as acanthamoeba ( a small one-celled protozoa) or bacteria which can cause a serious eye infection in soft lenses and possible loss of a contact lens in a swimming pool with rigid lenses. If contact lenses are to be worn, the use of tight fitting swimming goggles is recommended and a thorough cleansing and disinfection of the contact lenses after use can lower the risk of infection.
In salt or sea (hypertonic) water and chlorinated swimming pool water, soft lenses tend to stick to the cornea (front of the eye) due to an osmotic effect tightening the lens. Ideally one should wash the eyes with sterile water or saline and wait for twenty minutes after leaving the swimming pool before taking out the contact lenses. There is also a risk of infection from acanthamoeba or toxic reactions from chemicals in the water.
In fresh (hypotonic) water, soft lenses tend to enlarge and float about in the eye so care must be taken to avoid loss.